By Leonard Skoros
The 2006 calendar year was another great year for athletics at Hofstra University. Five teams — men’s soccer, volleyball, wrestling, men’s lacrosse and softball — captured CAA Championships and participated in the NCAA Tournament. The wrestling team placed 11th at the NCAA Championships, while the men’s lacrosse team won a school and NCAA record 17 games and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals. The men’s soccer team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and the softball team was a host institution of an NCAA Regional.
In addition, Hofstra’s men’s and women’s basketball teams were selected to play in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), with the women’s team winning its opening game, while the men’s team advanced to the quarterfinals.
The year began with a successful winter campaign with all three sports — wrestling, men’s basketball and women’s basketball — advancing to postseason play. In addition to the Pride placing 11th at the NCAA Championships, the team also had a school-record three wrestlers — Jon Masa, Mike Patrovich and Chris Weidman — earn All-America accolades. Patrovich earned CAA Wrestler of the Year honors, while Masa was the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the CAA Championships. Men’s basketball posted a 26-7 record, tying the school record for wins in a season. The team captured the first two Division I postseason wins in school history, with wins over Nebraska and Saint Joseph’s in the NIT. Individually, Loren Stokes was a first team All-CAA, All-Metropolitan New York and NABC All-District selection, while Antoine Agudio was a second team all-conference and third team All-Met selection. The women’s basketball team made its first-ever Division I postseason appearance in 2006, advancing to the second round of the Postseason WNIT after defeating Stony Brook in the first round. The Pride finished the year with a 19-12 record, which was the second most wins in school history. Vanessa Gidden was a first team All-CAA and All-Metropolitan New York selection, while Cigi McCollin was a second team all-conference and All-Met selection.
Men’s lacrosse and softball led the charge for the Pride in the spring, with both teams reaching the postseason. The men’s lacrosse team posted a 17-2 record, tying the NCAA record for wins in a season, and had a 17-game winning streak that ended in the NCAA Quarterfinals. Six players — Chris Unterstein, Brett Moyer, Athan Iannucci, John Keysor, Sean McCarthy and John Orsen — earned USILA All-America honors, with Moyer and Unterstein receiving first team accolades, the first time Hofstra has produced two first team selections. The softball team posted a 37-20 record and won its ninth consecutive conference tournament championship, including all five as members of the CAA. Ashley Lane was the CAA Player of the Year and was one of three Pride players selected to the NFCA All-Mid- Atlantic Region team, along with Tara Ulrich and Kayleigh Lotti.
The women’s lacrosse team, ranked 17th in the nation. enjoyed anotherstrong season, advancing to the CAA championship game for the second straight year and finishing the season with an 11-7 record. Kimberly Hillier was named a second team IWLCA All- American and was also a member of the All-Mid-Atlantic Region team, along with Jaime Irving and Casey McGrath. The baseball team won 24 games for the second consecutive year, and its 11 conference victories were the most since joining the CAA. In addition, Ricky Caputo was a second team All-CAA selection and was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 24th round of the MLB draft. In men’s tennis, Nicola Djordjevic earned All-CAA second team accolades in singles and teamed with brother Luka to earn third team all- conference in doubles. Nikola was also named the CAA Men’s Tennis Scholar-Athlete of the Year and was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-America team for the second consecutive year. The women’s tennis squad also performed well in the classroom, as it was one of just 96 programs to receive ITA All-Academic Team honors. Hofstra’s golf teams competed well during the spring season, and men’s golfer Tanner Bortolotti placed 15th at the CAA Championship, while women’s golfer Kim Novak was 29th at the CAA Championship.
Hofstra’s fall season picked up where the spring left off, as two teams — men’s soccer and volleyball — qualified for the NCAA Tournament — and four teams posted winning records. The men’s soccer team won its third straight CAA title and made a third trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Pride won a first round match-up with Providence to advance to the second round for the second time in its three appearances, and finished the year with a 12-6-3 record. Michael Todd became Hofstra’s first Division I Soccer All-American after earning second team accolades from the NSCAA. Todd was also honored as the CAA Player of the Year and was a second team Academic All-American. Volleyball won its first CAA title and made a return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000. The team posted the first NCAA Tournament victory in program history with a five-game victory over Cornell in the first round and ended the year with a 24-7 record. Liz Curley was named the CAA Player of the Year, while Shellane Ogoshi repeated as CAA Setter of the Year. Both players were All-CAA first team selections, while teammate Beverly Rivera was a second team all- conference selection.
The women’s soccer team finished the year 9-8-2 and saw star defender Sue Weber repeat as CAA Defensive Player of the Year and earn Academic All-District accolades. Weber and Marie Curtin were also selected to the all-conference team. The field hockey team earned a #18 national ranking and advanced to the CAA semifinals before ending the year with a 13- 7 record. Charlia Warner received NFHCA All-America accolades and joined Jessica Cowperthwait and Kara McEneaney on the NFHCA All-Mideast Region squad. The football team won two games in 2006, but did see freshman linebacker Luke Bonus earn Atlantic 10 Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and kicker Rob Zarrilli honored as the Atlantic 10 Special Teams Player of the Year. In addition, six players earned All-Atlantic 10 accolades. The men’s cross country team posted four top five finishes in 2006, while the women’s team also posted four top five finishes this past season.
For Hofstra athletics, numerous noteworthy events occurred off the fields of play as well. The University inducted a 17-member class into the Hofstra Athletics Hall of Fame in February. In April, football offensive lineman Willie Colon (Pittsburgh Steelers) and wide receiver Marques Colston (New Orleans Saints) were selected in the NFL Draft, marking the first time that Hofstra has had two players selected in the draft. In July former women’s basketball player Dr. Hilarie Cranmer became the first Hofstra student-athlete inducted into the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame. Three former men’s lacrosse players — Doug Shanahan, Nicky Polanco and Blake Miller — also brought great prestige to Hofstra, as each was selected to play on the U.S. National Lacrosse Team at the 2006 International Lacrosse Federation World Championship.